I've been with Fido since 1998, back when Fido was owned by Microcell Telecommunications (operated out of Montreal I think). I was attracted to Fido because of the upgrade program. To this day, I maintain that I’ve only ever bought 1 handset: my first. Every 18 months or so, Fido would call me up (back in the day) and ask me if I'd like a new phone. I’d go online and pick something I liked, and it arrived at my door thanks to the rewards program. Then Fido Dollars arrived and took this feature to a new level.
As I amassed a collection of phones (and I can tell you what each was), I got to know the service of Fido over the years: excellent.
To be clear, I’m well aware of the varied customers organizations are exposed to in the service industry, and from that, you will hear varied experiences from customers interacting with an organization such as Fido.
I can say this with absolute certainty as one of Fido’s longest clients: The people at Fido try hard to help you. This might be a no-brainer to anyone who manages a business (or 3 separate companies no less), but this escapes understanding by organizations far larger than Fido.
You see, I was a Bell customer for a long time (for home phone and internet). The differences between Bell and Fido were clear to me, and I’ll give you two examples for this:
When I received my first Fido handset, it came with limited coverage (just Ottawa). So, I set my phone to forward calls to home when not in the city (I live outside the city). I waited a long time (years), expecting coverage to reach my home area without borrowing Bell towers (a costly consideration). When coverage became available, it was labeled as extended (or something like that), with an unexpected cost.
Moving my business home, I did the math and calculated that using Fido at home was a bit too costly — greater than other carriers who included my area. With regret, I called Fido and asked if anything could be done, as I was ready to close the account. They talked amongst themselves and waived the charges for extended coverage — saving our relationship.
Every subsequent interaction I’ve had with Fido is evidence of an organization who really tries to help clients. To that, I don’t think Fido has any customers. No, I’m quite certain Fido only has clients. This implies value in the relationship over a service.
Now, I won’t go into the many experiences I’ve had with Bell (as entertaining as that might be), but I will say this: In contrast to Fido, a similar situation arose. I didn’t want the hassle of switching internet providers or home phone services, I simply wanted Bell to help maintain our relationship. When I called Bell to explain my predicament with annual price hikes from the same plan of many years, I asked if there was anything they could do to help keep the account. They flat-out said “No” — nothing was available as a better option for me.
That night I found a new ISP, home phone provider, and long distance carrier. Primus had everything switched over (multiple lines) in just 4 days. On the 6th day, Bell called me. They begged to have me back (yes, they had a radio-voice professional beggar who literally begged over the phone — very entertaining) an offered incentives and exclusive pricing — all to which I said “No.” — not to the reduced price offered (while still more than Primus), but because I went to them first looking to save a long relationship — and they simply weren’t interested.
Bell calculated that it’s more profitable to allow customers to leave than to offer them a better plan. The statistics showed customers were less likely to make the effort in switching to another provider — out of all who asked for a better plan. As a result, the ratio of lost customers (few) to the potential loss revenue in offering a better plan (many), found a better net result in letting customers leave. This is short sighted on a galactic scale, as it favours a larger interim margin over a lower customer retention percentage — revealing an easily calculated erosion of the customer base, ignorant of the greater effort needed by other business units responsible for growing the customer base.
This is a classic indicator of a business culture driven by quarterly results from individual business lines. I would surmise the following: Each business line manager puts pressure on each business unit to perform a given task within a projected period — all without strategic modelling, just ad-hoc solutions drawn by connected dots across business units from each business line. No vision = no insight = no validity in strategic modelling = little or no ROI from solutions development. They might know where to go, but have no internal mechanism allowing them to get there. So each division exec plans with great visions (sort of) while each business unit manager works in a box — fighting to perform against a calendar using a shoe as a hammer and butter-knife as a screwdriver. The idea of a relationship with customers simply doesn’t exist in this environment — it’s like a foreign language.
In contrast, Fido is centred on relationships at it’s core. With certainty, Fido doesn’t offer a mobile plan or an unbeatable coverage area. No, Fido offers a relationship where a client is provided assurance in mobile solutions. Assurance that coverage is consistent, assurance that pricing is reasonable and honest, assurance services are matched to client’s need, and assurance everything will be explored to maintain that relationship. This my friends is called excellent relationship skills, yielding strong client retention. I respect any organization having this at the top of their list.
Without fail, I’m always pleasantly cared for by Fido when I call them, and have been for 18 years. It’s more than just great mobile products and solutions, it’s services based on relationships. The hinge point being the relationship, as including anything under that umbrella — and boy, that can include quite a bit.
To anyone looking for a mobile carrier: look for someone interested in long relationships, and assurance every client is truly cared for. Thank you Fido for 18 great years, and many more to come.